Protests continue across the United States of America against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. These extended to Charlottesville, where peaceful protesters marched through downtown on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday afternoon, Albemarle High School Black Student Union hosted their own event outside the Albemarle County Office Building.
The aftermath of these protests will not yet be known for some time, especially when we consider that we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic for the COVID-19. The number of new cases is remaining steady, but mass demonstrations meant lots of people coming into contact with another.
Local government continues this week with several meetings, and the purpose of this newsletter is to inform you of what’s happening. Thankfully this week is relatively quiet in terms of these events.
Monday, June 1, 2020
The only action item on Charlottesville City Council’s regular meeting is a vote to allocate $250,000 from two tax-relief programs to a one-time initiative to provide COVID-19 related real estate tax grants. The staff report details how the Commissioner of the Revenue and the Treasurer came up with the program after Mayor Nikuyah Walker suggested how to use unspent funds from the Charlottesville Housing Affordability Program and the Real Estate Tax Relief Program for the Elderly and Disabled. (staff report)
There are seven items on the consent agenda, including adoption of the budget for Fiscal Year 2021. In normal times, this would have happened by April 15, but the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in drastically reduced revenue forecasts. The proposed budget had been built on $196.6 million but has been reduced to $191.2 million. (budget amendments)
“This is primarily due to the closure, as well as the modification of services provided by businesses who have traditionally produced tax (sales, meals and lodging) revenues for our City,” wrote City Manager Tarron Richardson in the May 18 budget message. “There will also be a significant loss in indirect revenues from not having students on campus and tourists who attend annual functions at the University of Virginia.”
A new Sheetz has been proposed at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Airport Road, just across from a WaWa that is now under construction. The Albemarle County Architectural Review Board will take up the item at a meeting that begins at 1:00 p.m. Also on the agenda is a proposed drive-through for the Starbucks in Twentyninth Place. (agenda) (access information)
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
The first is for a rezoning from R2 to R4 for a 1.24 acre parcel of land in Crozet. The Housing Lab LLC seeks to build six units, including two additional units created through “bonus density” provisions. (staff report) In the second, a recent rezoning of land on Proffit Road is being resubmitted to reflect changes to an interior street network. The plans had to be changed once a survey discovered a cemetery at the Full Gospel Assembly extended onto the property. The amount of housing will be reduced from a maximum of 109 units to 80 units. (staff report)
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
The Albemarle Board of Supervisors will meet at 1:00 p.m. for an electronic meeting. After brief announcements, there will be a motion to allow public comment on matters that have been previously considered by the Board, or are currently pending before the Board. The general public comment period was removed when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in electronic meetings, but Supervisors have been discussing how to restore a version of it. Another item on the agenda is the release of Albemarle’s community survey. (agenda)
In the afternoon, there will be a work session on the homestay program, which regulates transient lodging in Albemarle. A major change to the zoning ordinance approved last August created a registry program by which short-term rental operators had to submit their information to the county. So far, the Finance Department has recorded a 61 percent compliance rate by known operators, resulting in $96,997 in additional revenue to the county. Supervisors will also be asked if they want to change any of the land use conditions for a homestay, including a 125 foot setback from adjoining properties. (staff report)
The main item of the entire meeting is a rezoning for a large residential complex that would be built near the intersection of East Rio Road and the John Warner Parkway. The Parkway Place project as submitted requires a rezoning from the R-4 zoning district to the Planned Residential District. The Planning Commission voted 5 to 2 to recommend approval of the project on March 10, two days before the state of emergency was declared for the COVID-19 pandemic. This will likely be a very long public hearing. (staff report)
On the consent agenda is a resolution to begin the process of amending the zoning ordinance to streamline the process through which recycling and materials recovery facilities can be located in Industrial zoning. This was identified by the Board as a desired area of study last September, and Supervisors agreed to proceed at the meeting on March 10. One justification for this work is that it would address the Board’s Strategic Plan goal of addressing “Climate Action Planning” by increasing “the amount of recyclable materials put to positive use and diverted from landfills.” (staff report)
Thursday, June 4, 2020
In Albemarle. land use applications that require public hearings go before one of the county’s Community Advisory Committees for a community meeting. However, sometimes applications fall outside of the jurisdiction of one of those groups, especially when the property is not within the designated growth area. There is a proposal to build a 6,500 square foot commercial building on Ivy Road on land that is zoned C-1. The proposal will require two special exceptions including disturbance of critical slopes. The virtual meeting begins at 6:00 p.m. (meeting information)
The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission meets at 7:00 p.m. (agenda)
The Virginia Department of Transportation will hold a public information meeting on a study of the 5th Street Extended / Old Lynchburg Road corridor from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The idea is to turn the roadway into a “complete street” to serve planned development in the area. A survey is open through June 26. (VDOT page on study)
Field Representative – Albemarle, Charlottesville and Greene
The Piedmont Environmental Council